Top Colorado Court halts gay marriages, citing ban

DENVER — Colorado’s Supreme Court today ordered Denver’s clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples while while the state’s ban against the unions remains in place.

The two-page ruling noted that a judge who earlier this month ruled the ban was unconstitutional stayed his decision pending appeal, meaning the prohibition remains active.

Denver Clerk & Recorder Debra Johnson is one of three clerks in Colorado who began issuing licenses to same-sex couples recently after a string of legal victories for gay marriage in the state.

The state Supreme Court granted a request by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers for an emergency ruling prohibiting the issuance of the licenses. But the panel’s brief order only named Johnson and another clerk who has yet to distribute any documents because they were parties to the initial lawsuit that was stayed.

Several other county clerks had asked the court for clarity on whether they could distribute marriage licenses as well.

Suthers is also appealing the lower court’s finding that the 2006 voter-approved ban is unconstitutional to the state supreme court.

A Republican, he has acknowledged that gay marriage will eventually be legal in Colorado but says he has an obligation to defend the state’s laws all the way to the high court.


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